News story

Bring British Summer Time in with a beep and save a loved one’s life

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Test your family and friends’ smoke alarms this clock change weekend (31 March 2013).

A fire damaged clock

British Summer Time will start with a life-saving beep this Easter weekend as people across the country test their smoke alarms when they change their clocks on Sunday 31 March.

The Fire Kills campaign is asking people to keep themselves and their loved ones as safe as possible by making sure their smoke alarms are working properly by testing their smoke alarms when they change their clocks over the Easter weekend.

This simple but life-saving task is often forgotten, and by linking it to the task of changing the time on clocks, cookers, heating systems and watches, we want to encourage more people to test their smoke alarm and give themselves the time they need to get out, stay out and call 999.

  • you’re more than 4 times more likely to die in a domestic fire if you don’t have a working smoke alarm
  • 15 children died in accidental fires last year, among a total 7,256 injuries and 187 deaths from dwelling fires across the country
  • over half the people who died in fires in the home last year were over 65 years old and often less able to test for themselves

Many people will already have a list of household tasks and DIY duties to get done this long weekend, so it’s the perfect time to add this quick, simple and life saving test to the ‘to-do’ list.

Anyone visiting older friends or relatives this Easter can also take the opportunity to check that the ones they love will be safe. This might well be the best Easter present you could possibly give.

Fire Minister Brandon Lewis said:

“The simple act of testing your alarm could save the lives of the ones you love. It is all too easy to forget to test - and an alarm that doesn’t work is something you don’t notice until you need it, when it might be too late. That’s why we’re reminding people that it’s time to test, linking the twice-yearly clock change with this simple life-saving step.

“Last year, 1 in 7 people tested their smoke alarms when they changed their clocks. Let’s make it a nationwide habit.“

The government’s Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser Peter Holland said:

“A working smoke alarm is a proven life-saver and is absolutely essential to keep you and your family safe. But only half of all householders who own a smoke alarm say that they test it is working on a regular basis.

“Last year there were more than 30,709 accidental house fires across the country, and 15 childrens’ lives were lost. Don’t take the chance on your family’s life. Promise to test your alarms this clock change weekend.”

As part of the campaign, a new heart-wrenching online video by up-and-coming director, Stevie Russell, has been launched, reminding everyone exactly what is at stake in a house fire.

On your Child’s Life

Listen out for radio and press adverts supporting the ‘When you change your clocks, test your smoke alarms’ campaign and find out more on the Fire Kills Facebook page.

Further information

The change from Greenwich Mean Time to British Summer Time occurs on 31 March when clocks go forward.

There are a number of materials available to back Fire Kills’ clock change campaign:

  • online video: a heart-wrenching video by director Stevie Russell which reminds parents exactly what is at stake if they forget to test their alarms
  • audio: a radio advert which asks people to test their smoke alarms when they change their clocks
  • case study: Martin Hall, father of 2, lost his wife Debbie in an accidental house fire, which started as they slept; they had no smoke alarms close to the source of the fire and the house was ablaze by the time they woke; he and his children survived by leaping to safety from their first and second-floor bedrooms
  • images: a striking range of images of charred timepieces that bring to mind a child’s bedside table, a grandparents’ mantelpiece, and a quiet night in front of the TV, emphasising the link between the clock change and the need to test your smoke alarm
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Published 28 March 2013